Happening soon on our already sunny little island; Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay turns the spotlight onto the land of the rising sun with a whole lineup of exciting activities featuring performances, workshops, talks and more!

Super Japan – Japanese Festival of Arts will showcase the best in Japanese performing arts, with the colourful Kyary Pamyu Pamyu kicking off the festival with her “5iVE Years Monster World Tour 2016” happening on 13 May 2016, Friday. Followed by a slew of  Japanese acts either here for the first time or in collaboration with local performing groups, presenting something unique and seldom seen in Singapore.

We are of course excited but here is our list of activities that you should really check out!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

13 May 2016, Fri, 8pm – Esplanade Theatre

From Harajuku style icon to international pop star, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is taking the world of popular culture by storm. Now, she brings her sparkling fantasy world to Singapore for the first stop of her 5th anniversary world tour.

With sweet doll-like looks coupled with an utterly uninhibited way of expression, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has toured the world, releasing four albums together with respected Japanese pop producer Yasutaka Nakata (CAPSULE), who is also the producer for girl group Perfume. Her debut single PONPONPON has been played over 90million times on YouTube, and her latest album Pika Pika Fantajin had no.1 debuts in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.


Performed in Japanese.
(1hr 30mins, no intermission)

Ticket Price – $88^, $118^

^ Esplanade&Me specials available. Sign up now at www.esplanade.com to enjoy savings.

by Shigeki Nakano and Chong Tze Chien (Japan/Singapore)

14 May 2016, Sat, 3pm & 8pm
15 May 2016, Sun, 3pm
Esplanade Recital Studio

Two of the most exciting directors from Japan and Singapore, Shigeki Nakano and Chong Tze Chien, inject their bold and invigorating interpretations of the modern noh classic, The Damask Drum, by Yukio Mishima.

Regarded as the father of modern noh drama, Mishima’s adaptation from the original tale by 14th century playwright Zeami Motokiyo, centres around an old man’s infatuation with a beautiful neighbour. This results in his suicide when the latter and her associates play a nasty trick on him, making him perform an impossible task in exchange for a kiss.

Presented as a double bill, each director brings his own perspective and group of actors into this dark piece about obsession, cruelty, and the weight of our actions, which can sometimes return to haunt us.

Shigeki Nakano

Known for his technique of “free interpretation – re-translation” of rebuilding Western theatre pieces from the early modern to modern periods through the lens of Japanese culture and intuition, company director of Nakano Shigeki + Frankens, Nakano-san’s main works include Waiting for something (Asian Performing Arts Festival, World Theatre Festival Shizuoka under Mt. Fuji), Yotsuya Zotanshu + Yotsuya Kaidan (Tokyo), and NakaFura Theatre Exhibition 1.2.

Chong Tze Chien
“One of the most critically lauded and garlanded thespians of his generation” (theatre academic Dr K K Seet), Tze Chien is known for his bold and incisive social and political commentary, as well as for his innovative and multiple narrative dramatic structures. The Young Artist Award winner’s debut piece as a playwright, Pan Island Expressway (PIE), won him the Singapore Dramatist Award in 1998.

Performed in English and Japanese with English surtitles.

(2hrs 20mins, with 20mins intermission)

Ticket Price – $35*^

* Concessions for students, NSFs and senior citizens: $28
^ Esplanade&Me specials available. Sign up now at www.esplanade.com to enjoy savings.

Music with Scenery
by haruka nakamura PIANO ENSEMBLE & Aspidistrafly (Japan/Singapore)
A Kitchen. Label Evening

18 & 19 May 2016, Wed & Thu 7.30pm
Esplanade Recital Studio

Singapore and Tokyo-based Kitchen. Label presents two of its leading artists and frequent collaborators, haruka nakamura PIANO ENSEMBLE and Aspidistrafly, in their first joint showcase in Singapore.

With two critically acclaimed albums twilight (2010) and Ongaku No Aru Fuukei (2014) released on Kitchen. Label, haruka nakamura is one of the bestselling and beloved Japanese independent artists of his generation. His piano ensemble, which also features ARAKI Shin, Akira Uchida, Rie Nemoto and Isao Saito, mixes classical rigor with contemporary jazz improvisation.

Singer-songwriter April Lee and producer Ricks Ang (founder of Kitchen. Label) make up Aspidistrafly, which conjures up a filmic mixture of ambient folk, gossamer-like vocal harmonies and guitar-based drone, wrapped in a delicate lo-fi haze. They have garnered recognition in Japan for their albums i hold a wish for you (2008) and A Little Fable (2011), and have collaborated with haruka nakamura on several singles which made it to the Japanese music charts.

A surreal dreamscape awaits, where the boundaries between fine ambient, modern classical and the avant-garde start to blur, and a flurry of dream sequences awash your senses. Don’t miss your chance to catch the two groups perform their latest releases as well as a collaborative set of their well-loved compositions.

(2hrs 10mins, with a short break)
Ticket Price – $35*^

* Concessions for students, NSFs and senior citizens: $28
^ Esplanade&Me specials available. Sign up now at www.esplanade.com to enjoy savings.

Himiko – Memories of the Sun Goddess
A production by Suntory Hall (Japan)
Composer & Conductor Yoshihiro Kanno

20 May 2016, Fri, 7.30pm
Esplanade Concert Hall

“The performance embraces different times, cultures and genres…  giving a glance at a whole new potential art form.” – Mainichi Shimbun

This May, one epic evening of Japanese storytelling comes your way, in celebration of the arts of Japan.

This is the reimagined legend of Himiko as the enigmatic avatar of the sun goddess, a theatrical concert experience that brings together music and dance, traditional and classical art forms, the East and West.

Escape into a captivating world of Japanese mythology as the story of Himiko’s birth, life and resurrection unfolds through a marriage of Japanese traditional and western music, a breathtaking performance that fuses kabuki and Japanese classical dance.

 Himiko: Memories of the Sun Goddess is the brainchild of four venerable artists—kabuki actor Fukusuke Nakamura, composer Yoshihiro Kanno, violinist Yasuko Otani, and shamisen player Mojibei Tokiwazu. Its world premiere at Suntory Hall, Tokyo, in 2014 left its audience and critics in awe.

This Singapore edition marks a special collaboration between Suntory Hall and Esplanade, and features distinguished musicians, conductor Yoshihiro Kanno, cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and violinist Yasuko Otani, performing with some of the most outstanding Japanese traditional musicians; western classical musicians from Singapore; and kabuki performer Kotaro Nakamura (son of co-creator Fukusuke Nakamura), reprising his role as Himiko. Joining them on stage is a shomyo chorus of 16 Buddhist monks reciting sacred chants.

(1hr 45mins, with a 15min intermission)

$38*, $58*, $88^

* Concessions for students, NSFs and senior citizens: $25, $40
^ Esplanade&Me specials available. Sign up now at www.esplanade.com to enjoy savings.

mouse on the keys (Japan)

20 May 2016, Fri, 7.30pm & 10pm
Esplanade Recital Studio

“a sizzling swoosh between absolute control and absolute abandon” – Straits Times

“astounding, technically complex, yet emotionally affecting” – AllMusic Guide

In 2013, mouse on the keys displayed their towering musical presence at two sold-out Mosaic Music Festival shows. Now, they return to Esplanade for another explosive live music presentation.

Combining elements of jazz, funk, contemporary, classical, post-rock and electronic music, mouse on the keys are a genre all of their own. These musical beasts on stage blend minimal-phrased piano and dynamic drumming, and create intricately propulsive live music experiences composed of visual and audio expression.

In 2006, former members of influential Japanese underground band Nine Days Wonder, Akira Kawasaki and Atsushi Kiyota, joined forces with Daisuke Niitome, resulting in a virtuosic mix of alert piano-playing, intense drumming, chamber music moments, synth grooves, celestial ambient structures and beautiful abstract melodies. For their Super Japan performance in Singapore, they are joined by saxophonist Jun Nemoto, trumpeter Daisuke Sasaki and VJ artist Rokapenis.

mouse on the keys released their debut album an anxious object in 2009, and just released their latest album The Flowers of Romance last year. This year, the band also released their first live album Live at the Red Bull Studios Tokyo, which will be available for purchase at Super Japan – Japanese Festival of Arts.

(1hr, no intermission)

* Concessions for students, NSFs and senior citizens: $28
^ Esplanade&Me specials available. Sign up now at www.esplanade.com to enjoy savings.

The above are some acts we are very looking forward too!

But there are much more to see, do and experience; With over 40 planned activities, performances, talks and etc, over the 10 days period, from 13 – 22 May 2016! Surely there will be something for you, so do head down and enjoy Super Japan!

For a full listing of the activity and happenings at the Super Japan, please do visit www.esplanade.com/superjapan